Erika Feller

Erika Feller

Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow of The University of Melbourne, Former UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection 

From January 2005 to April 2013 Ms Feller held the post of Assistant High Commissioner {Protection}, one of the four top management positions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. A political position within UNHCR and the broader UN system, it carried the United Nations grade Assistant Secretary General. Her professional career has included 14 years and three international postings with the Australian diplomatic service, followed by 26 years of progressively more senior appointments with UNHCR, both in Geneva and the Field. As the High Commissioner’s Representative in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, she concurrently served as UNHCR’s Regional Coordinator for Status Determination for the Indo-Chinese refugee outflow. Amongst her accomplishments, Ms Feller initiated and managed the 2001-2 Global Consultations on International Protection, which generated the Agenda for Protection, an internationally endorsed multi-year “road map” for global refugee protection. Her accountabilities have ranged from running refugee camps to undertaking many protection advocacy, negotiation and oversight missions to major refugee emergencies. As Assistant High Commissioner, Ms Feller exercised oversight of the performance by UNHCR of its core protection responsibilities world-wide, in the some 127 countries where the office is represented. She had direct responsibility for ensuring age, gender and diversity mainstreaming and accountability throughout UNHCR’s global programs.

Ms Feller retired from UNHCR in April 2013. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and in July 2014 she took up her appointment as Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She was recently awarded the 2015 Arts Alumni Award for Leadership.

Ms Feller is an honours law graduate from Melbourne University, and holds an additional degree in the humanities, specialised in psychology. She is an academically acknowledged authority on refugee law, recognized as such in Who’s Who in International Law, has published widely in Journals, is co-editor of a book on Refugee Protection in International Law and has contributed to other significant book publications, including the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. She continues her writing and publishing.

She is married, with two children.